FINA World Cup Beijing: Kromo Tops Sjostrom At Water Cube


The first stop of the final cluster of the 2018 FINA World Cup Series saw another heated battle between Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo in the women’s 100m freestyle.

Kromo owns the top time in the world with the 51.01 she threw down earlier in the World Cup, while Sjostrom is ranked just behind in 51.21. Tonight in Beijing, Kromo opened in a split of 24.81, the only sub-25 mark of the field, to close in 26.70 and stop the clock at 51.51 for gold.

Sjostrom finished only .05 behind in 51.56, continuing their dual of fingernail-length finishes between the two.

Dutch speedster Femke Heemskerk rounded out the top 3 in tonight’s 200m free final in 51.92, while 50m freestyle Olympic champion Pernille Blume of Denmark finished 4th in 52.39. Both women have been faster this season, with Heemskerk’s 51.73 from September resting as the 3rd fastest time in the world, while Blume’s 52.19 checks-in as 5th in the rankings.

Sjostrom did come away with a gold on the night, however, owning the women’s 100 fly with a winning effort of 55.88. The world record holder represented the only athlete to dip under 56 seconds in the race, as Zhang Yufei of China added another silver to her haul with a runner-up mark of 56.53. On day 1, Zhang finished in 2nd in the women’s 2fly behind Hungarian Olympian Katinka Hosszu.

Chinese teammate Wang Yichun finished in 3rd with her fastest time of the season in 57.13, while Jamaican breaststroking ace took a very respectable 4th in 57.38 in this so-called ‘off-event’, the 9th fastest time in the world this season.

The Jamaican showed no mercy when it came to her specialty, the women’s 50m breast however. After registering a new World Record of 28.56 earlier this World Cup Series, Atkinson produced another strong outing here in Beijing, clocking 29.16 to take gold over Russian rival Yuliya Efimova.

Efimova was denied her trio of breaststroke victories after already winning the 100m and 200m distances here, settling for silver in this 50m sprint in 29.63. Aussie Emily Seebohm showed her well-roundedness once again, finishing in 30.35 for 3rd.

In the 200m backstroke just one women’s race earlier, Seebohm fell to teen teammate Minna AthertonAtherton already won the 100m race here at the Water Cube and kept her win streak alike with a time of 2:02.02 here.

Atherton’s time tonight overtakes her previous personal best of 2:03.26 set at her nation’s Short Course World Championships Trials to check-in as the fastest of her career. She remains #4 in the world behind Seebohm and America’s Kathleen Baker and Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu.

For her part, Seebohm touched just .20 behind her Brisbane Grammar teammate to earn silver in 2:02.22, while Hosszu took bronze in 2:04.11.

The men’s 100m back saw Aussie Mitch Larkin touched just .01 behind his world-leading mark of 49.96 from earlier in this Series. He beat the field tonight by over a second, with China’s Li Guangyuan checking i with the #6 time in the world of 51.60.

Bradley Woodward of Australia got on the board in 51.91 for 3rd while America’s MIchael Andrew finished off the podium in this event tonight in 51.93. Surprisingly, the men’s 50m and 200m backstroke winner here, Xu Jiayu was not competing in this event today. He took on just the men’s 200m free which is detailed below.

For Andrew, his backstroke came just one men’s race after the 50m fly, an event in which the 19-year-old reaped a silver medal. Beating his 22.78 mark from Eindhoven, Andrew registered a time of 22.76 to remain as the 8th fastest swimmer in the world this season.

However, it wasn’t enough to catch speedster Vlad Morozov of Russia, who collected a winning time of 22.27 this evening. That represents the Russan’s fastest time this season, beating the 22.42 he produced in Eindhoven. It also ties Aleksandr Popkov’s Russian National Record set last year.

Belarusian Olympian Yauhen Tsurkin earned bronze in 22.28. Of note, Chinese 100m and 200m fly winner Li Zhuhao was also in the race, touching in 23.01 for 6th.

Kirill Prigoda threw down a monster performance in the men’s 200m breaststroke, earning a time within striking distance of his own national record. Splitting 58.62/1:02.97, Prigoda earned a gold medal-garnering effort of 2:01.59. His NR stands at the 2:01.11 he produced at last year’s European Short Course Championships.

Teammate Anton Chupkov finished less than a second behind this evening, registering 2:02.10 for silver, while Australian Matthew Wilson touched in 2:03.26 to round out the top 3.

America’s Blake Pieroni got the job done in the men’s 200m freestyle, touching in 1:42.65 to take the gold. He’s been as fast as 1:41.83 back in September, but tonight’s performance checks-in as the 3rd fastest outing of his career.

Behind him tonight was a pair of Chinese swimmers in Ji Xinjie and Xu JiayuJiayu, who chose to not contest the 100m back to take on this event instead, settled for bronze in 1:43.59, while Ji took silver in 1:42.87.

Additional Winners:

  • Hungary’s David Verraszto won the men’s 400m IM in 4:04.09.
  • Yang Caiping of China was tonight’s 800m freestyle winner for the women in 8:29.05.
  • Hosszu took the women’s 200m IM in a time of 2:05.25 over Seebohm, who finished in 2:07.86. Ye Shiwen of China was also in the race, earning bronze in 2:08.16.

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2 years ago

tonight was the w100 free final. And not Aleksandr Popov, but Popkov is the Record holder.

2 years ago

After Beijing, Sarah has 237 points, Katinka has 222 points and Yulia has 204 points. Close race may be in the end.

tea rex
2 years ago

Weird Xu Jiayu chose not to do the 100m back after setting NRs in the 50 and 200. But – 1:43 is a legit 200 fr time – probably makes top-8 at Worlds.

Vlad Morozov now has a NR in 50 fly?! I believe Morozov has set Russian records in free and back. Does anyone know if he ever got a Russian breaststroke record?

Reply to  tea rex
2 years ago

Morozov is a VERY good Breaststroker, probably his second best stroke. He has been a 56 multiple times in the 100 but he isn’t swimming it during this World Cup season due to Chupkov and Prigoda. He’s in the lead currently and the Breaststroke events are not nearly as guaranteed wins as the sprint freestyles and 100 IM.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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